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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:17 pm 
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To all my Yankee friends who keep mentioning Phil Sheridan, sorry but Phil is not even in Stuart's or Forrest's league[;)]

GEN. Tony Malone
Commander Army of Mississippi
"Do your duty in all things, You can never do more, You should never wish to do less".


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:48 pm 
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I think some of you folks need to take a break from gaming and read a biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The last one I read was "In Search of the Enigma", but most any one will do. Or if you're a Yank,
at least Stephen Z Starr's "The Union Cavalry in the Civil War" (3 vols). I think you would find it enlightening.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:47 pm 
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Some Cossacks come to mind.[:p]

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:16 pm 
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<font color="beige"><b>Forrest.....IMHO...he was way ahead of his time in using mobile troops, either as shock troops or mounted infantry which ever the situation required.</b></font id="beige">

<center><font color="beige"><b>Maj.Gen. R.A.Weir
<font color="blue"><font size="4">AoA Chief of Staff</font id="size4"></font id="blue"></b></font id="beige">
<font color="yellow">THE CALVERT LINE</font id="yellow">
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:18 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Tony malone</i>
<br />To all my Yankee friends who keep mentioning Phil Sheridan, sorry but Phil is not even in Stuart's or Forrest's league[;)]

GEN. Tony Malone
Commander Army of Mississippi
"Do your duty in all things, You can never do more, You should never wish to do less".

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Tony,

You don't really expect us to vote for a Reb do you?[;)][:D]

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:55 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by zinkyusa</i>
<br />I don't believe Forrest ever commanded anything much larger than a brigade did he? While Stuart commanded a full division of cavalry and on several occasions took over corps commands and performed very ably. That does not mean Forrest would not be a good commander of larger formations only that he would be an unknown quantity in such a role.[:D]
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

That's obvious. I believe it's called the Peter Principle.

The South of course never had even the NEED to produce men capable of commanding large bodies of all arms effectively (for lack of such bodies). Hence, while it took the Union over three years to come up with efficient higher leaders such as Sherman, Sheridan, Grant or Meade who could command cavalry corps, armies, and even army groups, the South never even got there, and thus, if it wants to admire any of its own leaders (and who wouldn't want to), has no choice but to glorify its ubiquitous (but rather outmoded) dashing brigade and division commanders who usually failed already with a corps (Ewell), let alone an army (Hood).

Gen. Walter, USA
<i>The Blue Blitz</i>
3/2/VIII AoS
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:43 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by D.S. Walter</i>
<br /><blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by zinkyusa</i>
<br />I don't believe Forrest ever commanded anything much larger than a brigade did he? While Stuart commanded a full division of cavalry and on several occasions took over corps commands and performed very ably. That does not mean Forrest would not be a good commander of larger formations only that he would be an unknown quantity in such a role.[:D]
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

That's obvious. I believe it's called the Peter Principle.

The South of course never had even the NEED to produce men capable of commanding large bodies of all arms effectively (for lack of such bodies). Hence, while it took the Union over three years to come up with efficient higher leaders such as Sherman, Sheridan, Grant or Meade who could command cavalry corps, armies, and even army groups, the South never even got there, and thus, if it wants to admire any of its own leaders (and who wouldn't want to), has no choice but to glorify its ubiquitous (but rather outmoded) dashing brigade and division commanders who usually failed already with a corps (Ewell), let alone an army (Hood).

Gen. Walter, USA
<i>The Blue Blitz</i>
3/2/VIII AoS
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Disagree on this. The South actually started the war with more Generals capable of commanding large bodies of troops and a far superior leadership at the brigade, Corps, and Army level than the Union. As the war progressed attrition killed off the Souths leaders while improved the Union's leadership at all levels by killing off the dead wood.

As to the best Cavalry leader it depends on the situation since none of the leaders were tested over a wide range of situations.

Stuart was probably the best at the scouting and screening function of cavalry.

Forest probably was the outstanding raider. He new how to use cavalry to strike at the logistics of the enemy. If they had given him a free hand and enough troops they might not have need an infantry army in the West.

Hampton probably was the best at using Cavalry in cooperation with the army. He may have actually been the best cavalry leader but came to command to late in the war.

Sheridan thought cavalry was infantry with four legs. He fought them well dismounted but once they got on a horse he didn't have a clue what they were there for.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:42 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>I believe it's called the Peter Principle. </i><hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

My understanding of the Peter Principle is that everyone rises to the level of their incompetence. Ewell is probably a good example of that principle, but from my reading Forrest never did reach the level of his incompetence. Neither did Jackson, a corps commander, or Lee, an army commander. For some others, such as Joe Johnston, I suppose it all depends on your definition of incompetence. You are correct that only Union generals got to command army groups. Considering the odds they enjoyed over their opponents, their competence can be argued, though their success cannot.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:20 am 
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Perhaps the ideal would be Stuart leading a cavlary division in which Forrest commanded a brigade.

I think part of the reason for the success was the lack of good Union cavalry commanders, tactics and doctrine early in the war. As the Union armies improved over time the southern successes were less dramatic and regular, until by the end of the war the cavlary forces were pretty equal in terms of leadership and trooper quality. Of course the Union finally got the nod in terms of numbers and technology. [:)]

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:29 am 
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Actually, by the end of the war, with the new repeating rifles & breachloaders, Phil Sheridan probably had the right of it. The only thing the horses were good for was for manoeuver - getting there first. Once "there", fighting could only be done on foot (preserved the transport). Custer proved that one at Appomattox. It was pretty good work by Custer, but Sheridan was doing the driving.

Combined ops were necessary to take ground. Otherwise raiding/scouting was pretty much all cavalry could do. It still took pbi to relieve the cavalry and hold the ground thus won. Custer also proved that one (in the negative) at Greasy Grass (we'll let the winners name that one!)

While there may have been leaders in the South who could have done a better job than Sheridan, they never had the chance. Sheridan was given the chance, and he did very well with it indeed.




General Mark Oakford
Commander
Army of the Potomac


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:24 am 
I don't know how fair it is to compare the Union success late in the war over the Southern cavalry. It's not like the fight was especially fair - the South was out of fresh horses, out of even un-fresh troopers, and were up against an enemy with better horse artillery and, more importantly, better small arms. The repeating rifles and carbines realy gave the North an advantage that was impossible to overcome. A small number of Yankees with repeaters could hold of much larger numbers of single-shot rifle carrying Rebs, etc. By late in the war all the Reb cavalry <i>could </i>do was fight delaying actions whose outcome was more or less inevitable.

Sheridan gets a lot of credit, but I'm not sure how much of it is deserved. Any aggressive commander would have had success with the tools given him. Heck, John Bell Hood would have been just as successful in that role with the same circumstances. You have more men, more technology, more supplies - just attack! There's nothing your enemy can do to stop you. (Not to say that Sheridan wasn't good, I just don't think we can claim he was great given the easy odds in his favor.)

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Major Gen. Alan Lynn
CSA Chief of Staff
3rd Bgde, 3rd Cav Div, II Corps, AoA

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:15 am 
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I've just been reading back through all of Rhea's books on Grants overland campaign since I just got the newest one. The one thing that stands out is Grant's and Sheridan's poor handling of the cavalry. Sheridan did when battles but not the right ones. In cavalry's roles of screening the army, protecting its flanks, and monitoring the enemy it was a complete failure. Grant's decission to let Sheridan go running around the countryside on a pointless raid underscored his complete lack of understanding of cavalry's role in a campaign. The result was he never new what Lee was doing or where his army was. Which resulted in a lot of pointless mass attacks against fortifications because he had to use infantry to find the enemy. And numerous missed opportunities to destroy the weaker ANV because he couldn't see them without cavalry.

Stuart on the other hand sent a brigade initially to follow Sheridan and later send a division. Leaving his other two divisions to keep and eye on Grant. As a result Lee consistently out manueuvered Grant. Sheridan on the other hand took almost the whole cavalry Corps out of the main battle and only managed to draw away one understrength division which they later defeated in battle, suprise, suprise.

Sheridan gave the Union cavalry confidence by taking them out and winning some sure thing battles. But they didn't really contribute much more to the campaign than Butler did. Hooker is the one that deserves credit for rebuilding the Union cavalry into a force equal, actually better because of numbers and spencers, to Stuart's cavalry as was demonstrated in the Gettysburg campaign. Grant and Sheridan almost ruined the cavalry by putting people in command that had never commanded cavalry. Only Gregg was a compentent divisional commander for the 1864 campaign. Wilson almost lost his entire cavalry division in the Wilderness.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:12 pm 
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I am currently reading James Harrison Wilson's autobiography "Under the Old Flag" Wilson's very aggressive and modern use of cavalry at the end of the war should be considered when great cavalry commanders are compared. I would agree with some earlier posts that by the time Wilson had independent cavalry command the north had fresher horses and substantially better small arms. Still Wilson's near jugernaut tactics would likely have been effective at any time in the war.

Wilson's autobiography is a great read. For instance he tells a West Point story where he was "goaded" into a fight with a southern cadet - he describes the fight as "short, sharp, decisive." In another instance riding with McClellan he tells the story of McClellan wondering how deep a stream/river was, no one on the staff took initiative until one young officer (George Custer) drove his horse into the water, swam to the other side, turned swam his horse back and returned to McClellan and said "thats how deep it is." I am still reading the book I left off where Wilson was a battlefield adjutant bringing orders to the likes of Burnside at Antietam. Wilson's observations of that battle, its leaders and other "no holds barred" observations and opinions are a very interesting read.

Gen Pete


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